Based on participants' testimony and interviews, we know the MM-1 alerted to the possible presence of sulfur mustard (HD) and HT (both persistent blister agents) and benzyl bromide (a tearing agent) in the ASP on February 28, 1991. The evidence includes testimony from the Fox crew, particularly GySgt Grass and his MM-1 operator. Both believed the MM-1 detected chemical warfare agents in the ASP. GySgt Grass testified to possible sources of these agents-artillery munitions and a conex (storage) box. Both testified that the MM-1 operator performed at least one spectrum analysis and printed MM-1 tapes. However, these tapes, which might have provided additional information for analysis, no longer exist. Since the tapes were unavailable, we could not review them or have MM-1 experts analyze information printed on them. Furthermore, without the tapes or an explanation of the specific procedures the MM-1 operator took to obtain spectrum analyses, we could not analyze the steps necessary to evaluate an MM-1 initial alert. Without the tapes, or at least samples, there is no physical evidence to determine what caused the MM-1 alerts, only the Fox crew's testimony and their reports up the chain of command documenting the suspected chemical warfare agent in the ASP.
We believe more convincing evidence exists indicating chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents were not present in the ASP. According to interviews of 1/5 Marines and Fox crewmembers, unprotected (unmasked) Marines were in the ASP when the MM-1 alerted to the possible presence of chemical warfare agents. We would expect mustard agent exposure effects on unprotected persons, but no unprotected Marines experienced or reported symptoms or injuries consistent with exposure to the suspected chemical warfare agents. Furthermore, no Marine present in the ASP at any time reported other indications of chemical warfare agent presence (for example, odors associated with mustard agents).
In all alerts to the possible presence of chemical warfare agents we look for additional, corroborating information. In this case there is none. When the EOD team and Fox crew returned to the ASP on March 1, they visually inspected the ASP for signs of chemical weapons and used chemical warfare agent detectors to search for chemical warfare agents. The EOD team found no evidence of chemical warfare agents and no chemical weapons. In addition to the Fox and EOD team inspections, 1/5 Marines used chemical agent monitors and visual methods to inspect the ASP. They too found no evidence of chemical warfare agents or chemical weapons presence. As a result, and despite the reports of suspected chemical warfare agent presence in the ASP, reports after the EOD team inspection state that no chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents were present in the ASP. We believe these facts are the most convincing evidence in our assessment. Additional information supports this evidence. The EOD team leader returned to Kuwait after the Gulf War and was involved in cleanup operations throughout the country, including operations in this ASP. Teams of experts from seven nations discovered no chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents at any time, in Kuwait or in the ASP, during the multi-phase operations that lasted for three years. Furthermore, UNSCOM experts testified that no evidence exists that Iraq ever moved chemical weapons into Kuwait. The US intelligence community reached and testified to the same conclusion.
Without the MM-1 tapes we cannot definitively state that the February 28, 1991, MM-1 alerts in the ASP were false positives. However, most evidence suggests that the alerts indeed were false and, according to MM-1 experts, most probably caused by battlefield contaminants, contaminants from the orchard, and/or contaminants from a nearby industrial facility. Therefore, based on all available information, we assess that it is unlikely chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents were present in the ASP.
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